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Trip Report

Island Hoping & Day Trips in Thailand

My Thailand island hopping itinerary (Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Tao). Here are my tips on where to go for the best beaches and where to stay in Thailand for an incredible vacation.

  • Natural Pool at Na Mueang 2+ 5
  • Samui Elephant Sanctuary
  • Dschungle at Na Mueang
  • Island Hoping & Day Trips in Thailand
About Me:welcome on my travel page! My name is Steffi and I am a 23 year old project manager from Germany. With my instagram page @mylittletravelinpo I aspire to inspire others for uncommon travel destinations. Due to my job I travel a lot trough E... read more

AsiaThailand8 days / March 2019

Highs & Lows

Definitely street food!

Sometimes communication was hard, because locals do not speak English

Itinerary Overview

If you are looking for a tropical, yet adventurous getaway, I highly suggest to you some island hopping in Thailand!

In March 2019 I was travelling there with my bestie and us two girls felt really safe at all times. The friendliness of the locals is really lovely! They will try to help you with anything, even if communication can be a challenge.

Even though we booked all accomodations in advance, it should not be a problem to find something nice upon arrival. In general, we wanted to be really flexible with ouractivities, so we did not book any of those beforehand. Nevertheless we had some "must-sees" per island and decided day-by-day on what to explore.

You will need some cash, as eg local businesses, restaurants and food markets mostly do not provide the possibility to pay by card.

  • 3 Nights: Ko Samui
    main island with airport, good starting point to explore the other islands
  • 2 Nights: Ko Pha Ngan
    larger island next to Koh Samui
  • 3 Nights: Ko Tao
    Great for Diving
Ko Samui - main island with airport, good starting point to explore the other islands

Ko Samui main island with airport, good starting point to explore the other islands

Ko Samui - main island with airport, good starting point to explore the other islands - Samui Elephant Sanctuary
Samui Elephant Sanctuary
Ko Samui - main island with airport, good starting point to explore the other islands - Dschungle at Na Mueang
Dschungle at Na Mueang
Ko Samui - main island with airport, good starting point to explore the other islands - Natural Pool at Na Mueang 2
Natural Pool at Na Mueang 2

The first island we visited was Koh Samui. Koh Samu is a great starting point if you want to explore different islands arounds. We took a direct fight from Singapore, but you can also go there by boat from the main land.

For our first stay we wanted to have a hotel that is well located neer the center of Chaweng. We decided for the OZO Chaweng Samui and I cannot remcommnd it enough! It's only a short walk from the city center and delicious restaurants. Even though it' super close to the center, the hotel is located in a calm neighborhood, equipped with a beautiful beach.

For Koh Samui we mainly planned two highlights: climbing the Na Mueang waterfalls and visiting the Samui Elephant Sanctuary

Na Mueang Waterfalls:
We actually rented a car to get to the Na Mueang waterfalls, but if you are capable of driving a scooter, I would recommend a scooter over a car, as it's way cheaper and you are more flexible.
Once you reach Na Mueang Waterfalls you can decide wether to climb your way up to Na Mueang 1 or Na Mueang 2. In our case we wanted to climb Na Mueang 2, as there are several naturals pools and a great view over the dschungle. The climb took us about one hour and was quite demanding. I would recommend to bring one bottle of water per person and solid shoes. Don't forget to wear your bikini underneath your close :-) If you reach the top there are several natural pools waiting for you and the water is a great refreshment!

Samui Elephant Sanctuary:
If you love elephants you hopefully decide to not support activities like elephant riding where those giants are acutally forced to behave in a specific way, often times with violence. I would recommend to you rather get to know those beautiful creatures on eye level at the Samui Elephant Sanctuary. The sanctuary near Chaweng is set on forested land and offers a retirement home for elephants who have worked countless hours in the tourism industry. You can book a tour for 3.000THB where you will be picked up at your hotel, learn a lot about each elephant at the sanctuary, feed them, walk with them and observe these gentle giants, as they enjoy the peaceful life that they deserve. 

If you are looking for a great place to grab something to eat, I can totally recommend you Beryl Bar! It is a super remote restaurant, but the owner is very kind and the food extremely tasty. We sat directly at the beach and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

Ko Pha Ngan - larger island next to Koh Samui

Ko Pha Ngan larger island next to Koh Samui

Ko Pha Ngan - larger island next to Koh Samui - Paradise Beach
Paradise Beach
Ko Pha Ngan - larger island next to Koh Samui - Than Sadet Waterfall Park
Than Sadet Waterfall Park
Ko Pha Ngan - larger island next to Koh Samui - Paradise Beach
Paradise Beach

On the island Koh Phangan we decided for a stay at "The Coast" and could not have chosen a more beautiful place to stay. The hotel was equipped with an amazing infinity pool, granting spectacular views over the ocean.

One mayor highlight - reachable by foot - was the Princess Paradise Beach. This is literally the beach of your dreams. When we visited there were not ourists at all, it seems to be quite a hidden gem. 

Another highlight were the Than Sadet Waterfalls. You can explore several waterfalls in the Than Sadet Park and spend a whole day bathing and enjoying the sun. Please always think about carrying enough drinking water and wearing good shoes!

Regarding food you have countless opportunities on Koh Phangan! Our favorite place to grab a snack was definitely Phantip Night Food Market. It's a typical food market offering different kinds of Thai food, meat, sushi and desserts. Everything we tried was extremely delicious and we did not have any problems with a slack stomach.

If you are rather looking for a real restaurant to have dinner, I would recommend to pay a visit at "No Name" restaurant. We went there the first night and were amazed by the delicious and cheap food! 

Getting around the island is super easy, as there are a lot of pick-up taxis which circle the island all day and night. They will just pick you up at the road if you wave at them and you can always negotiate the price of your ride.

Ko Tao - Great for Diving

Ko Tao Great for Diving

Ko Tao - Great for Diving - Views around the island
Views around the island
Ko Tao - Great for Diving - Our Garden Villa
Our Garden Villa

If you are into diving, you should definitely consider a stop at Koh Tao! It's actually the cheapest place in the world to do you scuba diving license. As we are not particular into diving, we decided to go for a snorkeling trip around the island, which was a very nice experience.

We stayed at Haad Tien Beach Resort, which was a really beautiful hotel with private beach. Nevertheless this hotel was a bit remote, so you always had to get a taxi to get around the island. If you are looking for a tropical retreat, this is probably a good place to stay, but if you are looking for a more central place to stay, I would recommend Savage Hostel. It is located directly in the small city center and you can reach restaurants, clubs and bars by foot. The do not only offer shared rooms, but also double rooms which are equipped like a normal hotel room with own bathroom.

If you are looking for a great place to have lunch, I would recommend Coconut Monkey - they serve the best Buddah Bowl you will ever try :-)
On top of that you can sit outside next to the beach and enjoy a beautiful sunset.

All in all Koh Tao is a cute island, but if you are not a passionate diver, you will also be fine with only visiting Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would have chosen a different hotel on Koh Tao, as we prefer to stay more towards the city center which enables you to discover a lot of things by foot.
  • Restaurant recommendations?

    Koh Samui - Beryl Bar (it's super remote, but I promise you they serve the best Padh Thai!) Koh Phangan - No Name restaurant Koh Tao - Coconut Monkey
  • Packing tips?

    Use a backpack instead of a suitcase - this is way more easy to transport on the rocky roads and ferries
  • Transportation Tips?

    a scooter is very practical and cheap, but please only rent one if you are an experienced driver. Otherwise there are other posibilities to get around the islands, like pick-up taxis. You can just hop on and negotiate the price :-)
  • Any surprises?

    local restaurants are often times way more delicious, than the fancy ones